How to Remove Bike Pedals Without a Pedal Wrench? 7 Pedal Wrench Alternatives

How to Remove Bike Pedals Without a Pedal Wrench

If you’ve ever found yourself in a pinch, wanting to remove your bike pedals but without a pedal wrench at your disposal, fear not!

I’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide on how to remove bike pedals without a pedal wrench.

Whether you’re a newbie to bike maintenance or just happen to find yourself without the right tool, I’ll walk you through the process using pedal wrench alternatives.

So, put on your DIY hat and get ready to learn some awesome tricks to tackle pedal removal like a pro, even without a pedal wrench in sight!

Let’s dive in and get those pedals off!

Can you Remove Bike Pedals Without a Pedal Wrench?

Absolutely!

Removing bike pedals without a pedal wrench is definitely possible.

While a pedal wrench is a specialized tool designed for this specific task, there are alternative methods and tools you can use to accomplish the same goal.

In the next part of this article, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of removing bike pedals without a pedal wrench, so stay tuned and get ready to learn some handy tricks!

what can I use instead of a pedal wrench?

If you don’t have a pedal wrench on hand, don’t worry!

There are several alternatives to a pedal wrench that you can use to remove or install bike pedals.

While a pedal wrench is specifically designed for this task and is the most suitable tool, these alternatives can be handy in a pinch if you don’t have a pedal wrench available.

These alternatives include:

Alternative 1: Adjustable Crescent Wrench:

An adjustable crescent wrench can work as a makeshift pedal wrench. Ensure it fits snugly onto the pedal flats and provides enough leverage to loosen or tighten the pedals.

Alternative 2: Open-Ended Wrench:

If you have an open-ended wrench that fits the pedal flats correctly, you can use it to remove or install the pedals.

Keep in mind that open-ended wrenches might not provide as much leverage as a dedicated pedal wrench.

Alternative 3: Box-Ended Wrench:

A box-ended wrench can also be used, provided it fits the pedal flats properly.

The closed-end design can provide more contact area and reduce the risk of rounding off the pedal flats.

Alternative 4: 15mm Socket with Ratchet Handle:

If you have a 15mm socket that fits the pedal flats, you can attach it to a ratchet handle for easy pedal removal or installation.

This method offers good leverage and ease of use.

Alternative 5: Allen Key (Hex Key):

Some bike pedals have a hex fitting on the spindle instead of flats.

If you have the correct size Allen key, you can use it to remove or install these pedals.

Alternative 6: Vise-Grip Pliers:

Vise-grip pliers can be used as a last resort if you don’t have any other tools available.

Be cautious not to damage the pedal flats or the pliers during the process.

Alternative 7: Pedal Wrench Adapter:

Some multi-tools or bicycle-specific toolkits come with a pedal wrench adapter.

This small attachment allows you to use your existing tools as a pedal wrench.

Be cautious while using alternative tools, as they do not have the same precision as a dedicated pedal wrench.

Take care not to damage the pedal spindle or crank arm while removing the pedals.

Do You Have To Use A Pedal Wrench?

The short answer is no, you do not have to use a pedal wrench to remove or install bike pedals.

While a pedal wrench is a specialized tool designed specifically for this task and offers the best fit and leverage, there are alternative methods and tools you can use.

As mentioned earlier, you can use tools like an adjustable crescent wrench, open-ended wrench, box-ended wrench, 15mm socket with a ratchet handle, Allen key (hex key), vise-grip pliers, or a pedal wrench adapter that comes with some multi-tools or bicycle-specific toolkits.

Alternatives can work in emergencies or for occasional use, but they might not provide the same level of precision and ease as a real pedal wrench.

If you’re not confident in using these alternative tools or you regularly work on your bike, investing in a proper pedal wrench is a smart choice for comfort and safety.

Are All Bike Pedals 15mm?

No, not all bike pedals are 15mm.

While 15mm is a common size for flats on pedal spindles, and that’s why I mentioned it above, there are various pedal designs and axle sizes available in the cycling market.

The pedal size can depend on the type of bike, the intended use, and the pedal manufacturer’s design choices.

Some common pedal spindle sizes include:

9/16 inch (14.3mm):

This is the most prevalent size for adult bikes, especially for road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrids.

The majority of pedals for these types of bikes have 9/16-inch spindles.

1/2 inch (12.7mm)

This size is more commonly found on older or smaller bikes, such as children’s bikes or some older vintage bikes.

It’s less common on modern adult-sized bikes.

Others: There are also specialty pedals that come in different sizes, such as those with 6mm or 8mm spindles.

These are often found on specific types of bikes, like folding bikes or certain recumbent bikes.

When working with pedals, always choose the correct size before attempting removal or installation.

Using the wrong size tool or forcing the wrong size pedal onto the crank arm can damage the threads and render the pedal or crank arm unusable.

You don’t want that to happen.

Important Tip
Always consult your bike’s manual or check with a bike shop or mechanic if you are unsure about the pedal size of your bike.

How to Remove Bike Pedals Without a Pedal Wrench?

Now let’s learn how to use these alternatives to get the job done.

Here’s an easy guide on how to remove bike pedals without a pedal wrench:

Step 1: Find the Right Tool

Look for an adjustable wrench or a large crescent wrench.

Make sure it fits securely around the pedal spindle.

Step 2: Position the Bike

Flip your bike upside down or secure it on a bike stand.

This will give you better access to the pedals.

Step 3: Identify Pedal Direction

Take a close look at the pedals and determine their threading direction.

The left pedal has reverse or “left-hand” threading, while the right pedal has standard or “right-hand” threading.

Step 4: Loosen the Pedals

Using your adjustable wrench, grip the pedal spindle firmly.

Left Pedal (Reverse Threading):

  1. Locate the left pedal on the left side of the bike (opposite side of the chain).
  2. Position your wrench onto the pedal spindle, making sure it’s snug and securely fitted.
  3. Apply force to the wrench handle by pushing down or pulling up, turning it clockwise (right) to loosen the pedal.
  4. Use steady pressure and ensure a firm grip on the wrench to prevent slippage.
  5. Continue turning the wrench until the left pedal is completely loose.

Right Pedal (Standard Threading):

  1. Identify the right pedal on the right side of the bike (same side as the chain).
  2. Fit your wrench onto the pedal spindle, ensuring a secure and tight grip.
  3. Apply force to the wrench handle by pushing down or pulling up, turning it counterclockwise (left) to loosen the pedal.
  4. Use steady pressure and maintain a firm grip on the wrench.
  5. Keep turning the wrench until the right pedal is fully loosened.

Step 5: Apply Extra Force if Needed

If the pedals are tightly secured, you might need a bit of extra muscle power.

You can use a long pipe or a sturdy Allen key as an extension for more leverage.

Step 6: Remove Pedals by Hand

Once loosened, you can continue turning the pedals by hand until they are completely detached from the crank arms.

Remember to be careful while exerting force to avoid damaging the pedals or the crank arms.

And voila! You’ve successfully removed your bike pedals without a pedal wrench.

Happy pedal swapping or bike maintenance adventures!

Troubleshooting Tips

Don’t worry if you encounter challenges while removing your bike pedals without a pedal wrench.

These are the most common challenges you may face when removing bike pedals without a pedal wrench and how to overcome them:

Stubborn Pedals: If the pedals are tough to loosen, apply a penetrating oil or lubricant to the pedal threads.

Let it sit for a few minutes to help break up any rust or corrosion.

This should make it easier to turn the pedals and remove them.

Lack of Leverage: If you’re having trouble applying enough force with the wrench, try using a longer pipe or an extension to extend the wrench handle.

This will give you more leverage and make it easier to turn the pedals.

Tightening Instead of Loosening: Sometimes, in the midst of confusion, you might accidentally tighten the pedals instead of loosening them.

Remember that the left pedal has reverse or “left-hand” threading, while the right pedal has standard or “right-hand” threading.

Double-check the direction and adjust accordingly.

Seek Additional Assistance: If you’ve tried everything but still can’t remove the pedals, it may be time to seek professional assistance.

Local bike shops or experienced bike mechanics can provide the necessary expertise and tools to safely remove stubborn pedals.

Patience is key when troubleshooting pedal removal issues.

Take your time, try the suggested solutions, and don’t hesitate to seek expert help if needed.

With determination and a little troubleshooting, you’ll defeat any challenges that come your way.

Conclusion

And there you have it, fellow rider! Removing bike pedals without a pedal wrench is entirely within your reach.

With the right tools, a bit of know-how, and a dash of perseverance, you can conquer this task like a true cycling aficionado.

From preparing your bike to identifying the correct threading direction and applying the right techniques, you’ve learned the ins and outs of pedal removal without a pedal wrench.

And remember, troubleshooting tips are here to rescue you if any challenges arise along the way.

So, get out there, confidently tackle your pedal removal projects, and enjoy the satisfaction of maintaining your trusty bike.

Happy riding!

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Joey B. Ramsey
Passionate cyclist, father, and blogger.
I've been riding bikes since childhood and enjoy sharing my knowledge with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
My diverse bike collection allows me to write reviews and advice based on personal experience with various bikes and accessories.
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